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Elephant Rumblings: Players reject offer to add universal DH and expanded postseason for 2021

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Wild Card Round - Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics - Game Two Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The National League used a designated hitter in 2020, as a temporary measure during a season heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That change expired last fall, with the NL set to go back to normal in 2021 with no DH, and that’s still the plan for now.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB offered a deal to the players last week that featured multiple considerations for each side, highlighted by the key trade-off of keeping both the universal DH (which players like) and an expanded version of the postseason in 2021 (which owners like). The players rejected the offer, meaning business as usual until further notice — pitchers batting in the NL, and the customary 10 teams in the postseason.

That doesn’t mean either of these ideas are gone forever. The two sides could still negotiate something in time for this season if there’s a mutual desire. Or if not this year, then the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires next winter, providing an opportunity for new rules to be put on the table for 2022 and beyond. At the very least, the universal DH seems like an inevitability at some point, and sooner than later.

But for the moment, with three weeks to go before spring training, there (probably) won’t be a DH in the NL this season. And also spring training might end up being more than three weeks away, since the Cactus League requested that it be delayed due to the virus. But one way or other, at some point, in some form, there should be Major League Baseball in 2020, almost certainly, most likely.

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors has a good, concise analysis of the proposed DH/postseason trade-off, and why it wouldn’t have made sense for the players to accept it at this time in this form.

Also of note: Rosenthal mentions that one thing the league wanted in their latest offer was to experiment with automated strike zones this spring in exhibition games. The players opposed the idea.

A’s Coverage

MLB News & Interest

MLB Transactions

I thought Cleveland made a mistake declining Hand’s 2021 option the moment it happened, and now he signed for more than that elsewhere. Surely the Indians could have found a trade market and gotten something out of all this, instead of letting a three-time All-Star on a market-rate one-year contract walk away for nothing — and that’s even after considering the context Passan mentions, since the Nats knew about all that when they signed him.

Taillon missed 2020 due to his second Tommy John surgery, as the Yankees construct an all-time boom/bust rotation (along with fellow injury bounce-back candidates Kluber and Severino, among others). Click Passan’s tweet for some further analysis, as the rebuilding Pirates trade away another starting pitcher (after Joe Musgrove to the Padres).

This Ottavino trade is a luxury-tax motivated salary dump by the Yankees — they also tossed in a prospect and nearly a million bucks, in exchange for cash or a PTBNL. Solid gamble by the Red Sox, essentially signing Ottavino for 1yr/$8m to see if he can bounce back to his previous excellence after some small-sample struggles in 2020.

Hernandez returns to Cleveland, with a club option for 2022

Former starter Holland will compete for a spot in Detroit’s bullpen

Best of Twitter

Updated list of A’s non-roster invitees for this spring, with five prospects added Monday morning: Allen, Dunshee, Howard, Reed, and Soderstrom

Snippet from the Brogna article (linked above in A’s Coverage section)

This is still more often than the A’s and Giants trade with each other

I’m just saying, the A’s can still use a few more relievers

Not just the hitters; can you imagine today’s TWITTER reaction?

I didn’t look at the other submissions but I’ll assume this was the best